Cigarette Smoking May Be Hazardous to Your Prostate

Apparently, there’s another reason to quit smoking: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer recurrence as well as an increased risk of dying of prostate cancer. This is the first large-scale study to demonstrate that smoking increases the risk of dying of prostate cancer.

Researchers followed 5,366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer over two decades. Of these, 1,630 died — 524 due to prostate cancer and 416 due to cardiovascular disease –and 878 had recurrences of their prostate cancer after treatment. When compared with men who had never smoked, those who were smoking at the time of diagnosis had an approximately 60 percent greater risk of both prostate cancer recurrence after treatment and death due to prostate cancer. Furthermore, the greater the number of years spent smoking, the greater the risk of death due to prostate cancer.

On a positive note, the study demonstrated that participants who had quit smoking for 10 or more years experienced prostate-related death and recurrence rates similar to those of nonsmokers.

African Americans have the highest incidence of prostate cancer, followed by white Americans. Although the cause of prostate cancer remains unknown, risk factors include age, family history, race and hormone levels — with advancing age being the most notable risk factor.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men at average risk discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor at age 50. For African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer, the society recommends having the discussion even earlier—starting at 40 to 45 years of age.

Bottom Line: As many of us already know, smoking is linked to a variety of deadly diseases, including cardiovascular disease and lung cancer. For multiple reasons, if you’re a smoker, it’s always a good idea for you to quit. This study suggests that if you have prostate cancer and you smoke, it makes sense to quit for this reason, too. And if you’re at increased risk for prostate cancer, it’s smart to quit now in case you’re later diagnosed with the disease


This blog was modified from the Johns Hopkins Health Alert,

Research on Smoking and Prostate Cancer


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